(JTA) — A U.S. Department of Homeland Security memo reportedly notes that Gabrielle Giffords is Jewish in describing the motives of the Arizona congresswoman’s alleged assailant.
The memo, obtained by Fox News Channel, says that Jared Lee Loughner mentioned American Renaissance, an extremist anti-immigrant group, in some of his own postings.
“The group’s ideology is anti-government, anti-immigration, anti-ZOG (Zionist Occupational Government), anti-Semitic,” says the memo sent to law enforcement, which also notes that Giffords, a Democrat, was the first Jewish congresswoman from Arizona.
Loughner was arrested after Giffords and 19 others were shot Saturday at a meet-your-lawmaker event at a Tucson shopping mall. Six people were killed, including a 9-year-old girl and a federal judge, John Roll. Loughner was tackled and arrested. Giffords, a Democrat in her third term, is now in stable condition after being shot in the head.
Loughner has been described by authorities as “unstable.” He reportedly listed Mein Kampf and the “Communist Manifesto” as two of his favorite books on his MySpace page. Several hours before the shooting he reportedly left a “Goodbye friends” message, which also said, “Please don’t be mad at me.”
Giffords was outside one of her signature “Congress at Your Corner” events outside a Safeway in Tucson, part of her congressional district, when the gunman approached and shot her. A Giffords staff member, Gabe Zimmerman, 30, the organizer of the event, was among the six casualties. The bullet went through the left side of her head, said Dr. Michael Lemole, a surgeon at the University Medical Center in Tucson.
Giffords was elected to Congress in the Democratic sweep in 2006. She made her Jewish identity part of her campaign.
“If you want something done, your best bet is to ask a Jewish woman to do it,” Giffords, a former state senator, said at the time. “Jewish women — by our tradition and by the way we were raised — have an ability to cut through all the reasons why something should, shouldn’t or can’t be done, and pull people together to be successful.”
Giffords, 40, was raised by a Christian Scientist mother and Jewish father. She decided she was Jewish following a 2001 visit to Israel.
Giffords fought a hard re-election battle last year against the national anti-incumbent, anti-Democratic mood. She tacked to the right of her party on immigration, saying border security was of primary consideration.
The election was called in her favor weeks after the vote.
The National Jewish Democratic Council suggested that the heated rhetoric of the last year contributed to the climate that led to the attack.
“One suspect, now in custody, may be directly responsible for this crime,” the group said in a statement. “But it is fair to say — in today’s political climate, and given today’s political rhetoric — that many have contributed to the building levels of vitriol in our political discourse that have surely contributed to the atmosphere in which this event transpired.”